Is there a point in monitoring only Ph?

Discussion in 'Water Parameters and Additives' started by Midnight Reefer, 7 Oct 2013.

  1. Midnight Reefer

    Midnight Reefer

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    Is there any point in monitoring Ph and dosing calcium hydroxide to try and keep Ph above 8.3?

    I am dealing with a 7000L mixed reef that I have recently taken responsibilty of and I do not like any Ph above 8.2 during the day to minimize and fluctuations at lights out. But do not want to mess with what has been working all this time.

    Ph is taken in the mornings but no Alk, Mg or Ca testing.

    After testing calcium, the concentration is around 650ppm but alkalinity unknown. My colleagues are not used to working with closed systems so do not understand buffering capacity.

    Should the daily Ph test be scrapped and replaced with Mg, Alk and Ca?

    In my opinion, Ph alone tells one nothing, especially if only measured at one point during the day.

    Any thoughts please.........:)
     
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  3. carlosdeandrade

    carlosdeandrade

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    Alk and pH number usually go hand in hand. High Alk should give you a high pH. pH shouldn't fluctuate more than 0.1 to 0.2 points during the whole day. Low pH, even though not detrimental to life in tanks will slow down the growth of stony corals. Stability is the key, many tanks are able to survive successfully with a pH of 7.8, I have even read of some being around 7.6. Any pH below 7 will start to dissolve coral skeletons.

    Personally, with a reef that is so big, surely there should be some form of controller like a profilux to measure your pH constantly?

    Low pH could be an indicator of excessive biological actions and release of CO2 thereby lowering the pH.

    I only test alk, but because I have constant pH reading, I usually know what my Alk is at, however that being said, with the addition of a CARX my levels never change and my pH has stayed very stable.
     
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  4. Nemos Janitor

    Nemos Janitor

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  5. Glynn

    Glynn

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    Nice article Keith ... I have always found balanced calcium addition ie kalwasser dosing and/or carx operation on a day night cycle takes care of ph...just measure alk to make sure your additions are on target over time
     
  6. Midnight Reefer

    Midnight Reefer Thread Starter

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    So do I have an agreement that Ph alone tells one nothing about water quality???

    Could the monitoring of Ph be replaced by Alk monitoring?? making Ph values no concern??
     
  7. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    I would definatly focus on alk ca and mg stability. Ph is nice to monitor and small swings are acceptable. I would love to see your progress with this system
     
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  8. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    My PH used to swing between 7.8 and 8.1 per day. That is big, but as long as it is the same swing everyday, then it does not really matter. But OK. I do have a softy dominated system.

    The new Aquamedic salt do have a higher Alk reading, so since the tubs came out the range flactyating is a lot less.

    Do you use natural seawater? Or do you mix salt?
     
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  9. Istio

    Istio

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    The largest daily ph swings recorded in a coral reef lagoon was 0.75 bottoming out at night at 7.69 (Diel coral reef acidification driven by porewater advection in permeable carbonate sands, Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef - Santos - 2011 - Geophysical Research Letters - Wiley Online Library ) . Diel (daily) changes of 0.1 -0.3 ph units in the natural lagoon environments are not that uncommon...I think ph, alkalinity and calcium need to be tested and it is of limited value to only know the ph of your system...It is also better to stabilise the ph using a carbonate/bicarbonate based adjustment mechanism eg. sodium carbonate or bicarbonate as heavy use of CaOH can lead to abiotic precipitation of calcium in the system. Just out of interest, don't you guys have some sort of centralized water lab with all those aquariums?
     
    Last edited: 8 Oct 2013
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  10. Midnight Reefer

    Midnight Reefer Thread Starter

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    Thanks guys. and Riaan, we have the salinity, Ph, dissolved oxygen checked everyday, but they are all open systems as opposed to the coral exhbit which is closed.

    Speaking to the curator today.

    Would you agree that measuring Alk instead of Ph is better? or still keep Ph reading?
     
  11. Istio

    Istio

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    IMO ph is part of the package and so easy....Don't think it need to be daily though (twice a week is more than sufficient for all but the most heavily stocked systems.) especially if you not using CaRX and CO2
     
  12. RiaanP

    RiaanP Moderator

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    Do both

    do not stop the one for the other.
    Alternatively
    get a PH meter / controller.
    http://www.dorrypets.co.za/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=338&Itemid=2

    Would go for the last one on the page, plus the probe. Then it hangs permanently in the sump area and you can see all day long what is the PH value. Then no more tests, just a monthly to confirm the calibration on the controller.

    Another option is to go full out on aquarium controllers
    http://www.dorrypets.co.za/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&page=shop.browse&category_id=176&Itemid=2

    Any sponsor should be able to help you out with that.

    You say the coral system is a closed system. Do you do any water changes? and with what?
     
  13. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    Ph will swing in a closed system. Taking sample readings will not tell you much info.

    If you want to monitor ph I think you need to log the reading to draw meaningfull information from it.

    where as Alk, Ca, mg testing can yeald meaningfull infomation.
     
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  14. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    This is my tank over the last 24 hours
    [​IMG]
     
  15. Midnight Reefer

    Midnight Reefer Thread Starter

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    Thank you so much dudes,

    You comments have put the cogs in motion
     
    Last edited: 18 Oct 2013
  16. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    with missing trace elements, no Iodine and no strontium, you will definatly find keeping SPS challenging.
    how did you test your water?
     
  17. Midnight Reefer

    Midnight Reefer Thread Starter

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    Butcherman, testing was done by super accurate sera test kits lol.
     
    Last edited: 18 Oct 2013
  18. carlosdeandrade

    carlosdeandrade

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    I think what @butcherman is saying is that keeping sps with no Sr, I or trace elements is near to impossible. Sera test kits, IMHO, are not the best salt water test kits. I have found that testing Iodine, Strontium difficult at best, with inaccurate results.
    Low Mg doesn't sound good either as it is the lattice foundation for your Alk and Ca.

    What is TOA (never seen this acronym before, excuse my ignorance)?

    How low are your PO4, give us a number, some PO4 indicates nutrients?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 26 Nov 2015
  19. butcherman

    butcherman Moderator MASA Contributor

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    strontium and ca go hand in hand both help form the corals skelaton.
    Iodine helps with pink colours in sps (Fe for greens and K for purples)
    Mg has to do with balancing ALK & ca and also helps with sps tissue development. Low mg and ca will also limit coraline growth.

    If these levels are low growth will be hindered in SPS.

    If po4 and no3 are not kept in check and accumulate in your system your sps will also turn Brown.
     
  20. Midnight Reefer

    Midnight Reefer Thread Starter

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    TOA - Town of Atlantis
     
    Last edited: 18 Oct 2013
  21. dallasg

    dallasg Moderator MASA Contributor

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    i agree with all the points

    about Strontium
    - http://www.advancedaquarist.com/2003/11/chemistry

    Sr has the same structure as Ca but 13% larger so the uptake in coral skeleton formation uses it, as Sr is seen in the Calcium Carbonate.

    is there value in measuring pH? yes i think so, if one wants to have a thriving reef we need to be able to see whats going on, trends and plan.... while many run their reefs without constant monitoring, a 7000L beast is different. and if one runs Carx units or any item that can affect pH or any other param its advisable to monitor the affects.

    so buying a pH monitor for a 7000L should be negligible and an import piece of equip, especially if you are liable for the corals and the $$$$ of livestock going in.

    my R1.50c
     
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